Also known as Yellow Locust.
Mature Size: 30 to 70 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet in diameter.
Form: Medium-sized, with crooked branches; may form thickets through root suckering.
Habitat: Variety of sites, including disturbed areas; grows best on moist loams of limestone origin.
Alternate, pinnately compound, 8 to14 inches long, with 7 to 19 oval, smooth-edged leaflets.
Showy and fragrant, white, 1 inch long and pea-like, borne in 5 inch hanging clusters, appearing mid to late spring.
2 to 4 inch, flat, brown pods containing 4 to 8 kidney-shaped, smooth, red- brown seeds, ripening in fall.
Gray or light brown, thick and fibrous, heavily ridged and furrowed, resembling a woven rope.
The wood is yellow, coarse-grained, very heavy, very hard, strong and very resistant to decay. In the past it was used extensively for fence posts, poles, mine timbers, split rails and decking, as well as for pulpwood and fuel. Sprouts and seedlings are important food for cottontail rabbits and deer. Birds that eat black locust seeds include bobwhite quail and other game birds. Older trees with heart rot are used by cavity nesters, such as woodpeckers. The flowers are an important nectar source for honey production. Black locust is a nitrogen fixer and is good for reclaiming mine sites and other disturbed lands.
Black locust is damaged by many insects and diseases, including locust borers, leafminers and heart rot fungi. Fungal growths are often present on the trunks.